Review: When You Dare by Lori Foster

April 6, 2011

When You Dare

Author: Lori Foster
Series: Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Book 1
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 978-0373775712
Date Released: April 26, 2011
Format Reviewed: Adobe DRM ebook
Source: ARC provided for review by the publisher
Length: Novel (448 pages in paperback)
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Online blurb:
The tougher they are, the harder they fall…

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he’ll take the mission he’s offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who’d had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare’s tempted to combine work with pleasure.

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she’s uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful, estranged father? The ex-fiancé who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all… (From the author’s website)

My opinion:
Dare Macintosh is a rescuer at heart and usually hires out to retrieve hostages. He can afford to be selective about his missions, though, and doesn’t take any he doesn’t believe in but preventing or stopping the abuse of women tends to top his list of worthy causes. One of his most trusted friends has hired Dare to find his sister, taken by suspected white slavers while she was vacationing in Mexico. During her rescue, Dare releases the other women being held and most scatter-all but one.

Molly Alexander cannot figure out why anyone would want to kidnap her from in front of her own home in her quiet Ohio town. She’s just a writer, after all. But after nine days of abuse and torment at the hands of her kidnappers, she’s focused on survival. Then she’s rescued by a huge but gentle man who swears he’s not a threat. At least not a threat to her. He makes her feel safe and Molly hires him to help her find out who kidnapped her and why, never imagining just what her feelings for Dare would grow into or what they would discover while searching for clues to her abduction.

When You Dare has a great combination of a gentle yet alpha here who is on the side of justice and is used to seeing the worst in people but finds himself seeing a lot more than he thought he would or could in Molly. Whenever he’d rescued hostages before, they were returned back to the arms of their loved ones and he went home to his girls and his best friend until called on another mission. This time Molly didn’t know who to trust so Dare finds himself in the unfamiliar role of caretaker, nurse, therapist and comforter. The more he learns and sees of Molly, the more he has trouble picturing her leaving his life, but they have to find out who is behind her abduction so she can be safe. Too bad Molly isn’t as good at following orders as he’d wish and instead insists she’s fine and needs to know everything he discovers.

Molly is a really fun heroine in that she’s an author of romantic suspense. As When You Dare unfolded, I could see little tidbits of real-life author issues pop up which always intrigued me and made me wonder just how many of these Ms. Foster has encountered herself. I am sure some readers will be annoyed that any author could personify her readers in the ways demonstrated in this book but I guess I know enough authors and have heard enough about various encounters that it just rang true to me and made the character more believable. I must admit I did find Molly a tad bit Mary Sue on occasion but not so much that it ruined the story for me. I did think she needed a bit more common sense on when to obey Dare and when it was safe enough to do what she wanted to. I really liked her independent personality, though, and her lack of divaness.

Dare is an interesting mix of distrustful operative and someone who really does want to have close relationships with a few select people but doesn’t know who he can trust or if he can trust anyone human. The only people close to him have spent years getting there. He likes comfort in his home but works out like a demon and regularly puts himself in harm’s way and discomfort to help others. He’s a tough, alpha do-gooder and it’s nice to see him melt for Molly.

While the resolution was a bit predictable if you’re paying attention, Ms. Foster threw in enough red herrings to not make it dirt simple and have the reader think the main characters are idiots. I did find the interspersion of some scenes in POVs other than the two main characters a bit jarring and would have preferred to not have that. That may be more of a personal preference, however. I tend to like to stick with my main character(s) and not need other POVs.

When You Dare is a book I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. I’ve been a Lori Foster fan since the Buckthorn Brothers series and this book did not disappoint. I’ll be happy to recommend it.

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